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July 2009

Submitted by admin2 on Sat, 18/07/2009 - 1:10pm

Te Runanga-a-Iwi o Ngati Kahu

Land Claims Report forJuly 2009


1.    Negotiations with Crown to settle the shared interests and overlapping claims made to the five iwi of Te Hiku o te Ika

2.    Te Hui Topu o Te Hiku o Te Ika (Five Iwi Forum)

3.    Foreshore and seabed review


1.   Negotiations with Crown to settle the shared interests and overlapping claims made to the five iwi of Te Hiku o te Ika


We have spent this month trying to recover the position we thought we had arrived at before we received the Crown’s offer last month. It has been very frustrating and at times the going has been difficult and rough.


We met with the Minister of Treaty Negotiations and the Minister of Finance in Wellington on 25 June. The outcome did not warrant us going to Wellington and simply confirmed my long held view that Ministers must come to us. I reported on that meeting at the last Runanga meeting.


Since then I have had one teleconference with the negotiations subcommittee of the Five Iwi Forum and two meetings in Auckland with the Chief Crown Negotiator, Pat Snedden. Lloyd and I, along with a large number of our kuia, kaumatua and marae representatives, attended a meeting of the Forum negotiators followed by a negotiations meeting with Pat Snedden at Auckland Airport on 14 July. Te Kani Williams has been on annual leave for the week of these meeting but kept in touch by email and phone. In his absence Bernadette Arapere and Dominic Wilson attended as legal counsel.


Although the discussions I had with Pat were good, he has been unable to get the Crown to effect the changes we are seeking. The Crown is very reluctant to make any significant improvement to the offer it made on 12 June. They have refused to improve on the $120m offer across all five iwi. We have therefore tried to work on reducing the amount of money the Crown wants to claw back from the $120m in return for returning our own lands to us. This has become the major sticking point.


We’ve managed to reduce the amount the Crown wants to claw back for the seven big farms from $50m across the five iwi to $40m but it is still too much. And Ngati Kahu did not benefit at all from this reduction. So we instructed the Crown to remove the Kohumaru block (which has now reverted to gorse and scrub and is no longer a viable farm) from the Crown’s list of major farms and we will negotiate how that is to be returned separately (rather than the Crown dictating the amount of its claw back to us). This means Ngati Kahu will no longer need to participate in the tortuous and divisive arguments in the Forum over the “valuations” of the big farms. We can do this because in our Agreement in Principle (AIP) Rangiputa has already been agreed to come back to Ngati Kahu at $4.1m and it is the only major Crown controlled farm in our rohe. The matter had really bogged the Forum down, wasting a lot of time and we are relieved that Ngati Kahu is now free of it. We will wait for the other iwi to reach agreement with the Crown on their farms and simply tautoko whatever they agree to.


The Crown has agreed to return Te Aupouri forest lands. For Ngati Kahu those are the forest lands around Kohumaru and Aputerewa.  But as with the farms, they are still insisting that they claw back money for these lands. Arguments over how much that will be will take place after the five iwi shared interests AIP has been signed.


We have managed to get the Crown to work with us on designing an improvement of the proposed statutory board over Te Oneroa-a-Tohe that will give iwi greater control. However they are still unwilling to acknowledge that we own the beach. The recent review of the Foreshore and Seabed Act should make it much easier for them to do so given that it has recommended repeal of the Foreshore and Seabed Act.


The Crown wants us to focus on their offer to work with them to improve the delivery of government social services (health, housing, education, employment etc.) in Te Hiku o Te Ika. Yet they are offering us no resources to work on what is essentially an exercise in designing remedies for the mistakes of their government departments. I remain skeptical about how effective any of this will be and am opposed to us working voluntarily for the Crown in the manner they are expecting. There will have to be a much greater certainty of positive outcomes for Ngati Kahu before I could recommend that we participate in such an exercise.


The Crown is still aiming to have and Agreement in Principle signed in September. Even if the lack of agreement over the valuations can be resolved and the statutory board design agreed, there is still a great deal of negotiation and work to do to conclude an AIP. I am not confident that the September timeline for the five iwi shared interests AIP is realistic and that puts huge pressure on our Deed of Settlement deadline of March 2010.


2.    Te Hui Topu o Te Hiku o Te Ika (Five Iwi Forum)


The workload for members of the Forum, and in particular the negotiations team, has been heavy over the past couple of weeks as the Crown has tried hard to chip away at our opposition to their offer. We have had large amounts of information to consider and analyse on the valuation process and we had to keep in close contact with each other as Pat met with us individually to try to push the deal through. Some Forum members are having difficulty maintaining the pace. While there has been good will between most of us, the level of work effort required has put pressure on the Forum and some unfortunate cracks have started to appear.


In last month’s report I indicated that the Forum had called hui-a-iwi for the 4th and 6th of July. At our Runanga hui on 27 July we resolved that consultation hui should not take place until there was certainty surrounding the Crown offer. We were also becoming concerned about attacks on Ngati Kahu’s AIP from two of the other iwi that had been prompted by the Crown offer. As such our negotiators were instructed not to attend the hui-a-iwi and that while people could attend if they wished there would be no formal Ngati Kahu representation.


Although the other iwi were disappointed they accepted Ngati Kahu’s decision. However the ‘facilitating’ chair of the Forum took extreme exception to it and attacked the Ngati Kahu negotiators, demanding that they overturn the resolution. We refused. This was the second time he had attacked Ngati Kahu, the first being when Ngati Kahu refused to allow him to speak for us. Then following the hui he attacked us again for speaking to Pat Snedden by ourselves. This was the reason the large contingent of our kuia, kaumatua and marae delegates travelled to attend the 14 July hui and remained throughout what was a very long and drawn out hui. Our kaumatua made it clear to the Forum that Ngati Kahu’s negotiators have the support of the iwi.


I would like to thank everyone for the very strong support they have given our negotiators and for being there with us so often. It makes our job much easier, ensures that the mana of Ngati Kahu is not trampled on and helps keep our people informed. Aku mihi whanui ki a koutou katoa.


3.    The Foreshore and Seabed Review

The report of the Ministerial Review Panel who looked at the Foreshore and Seabed Act has been released. It recommends that the Act be repealed. This was requested by the overwhelming majority of people who appeared before them, including us. The Panel recommended that the legislation be replaced by what they have called a “mixed” model. It assumes that hapu and iwi with traditional interests in the coastal marine area have some form of customary or tikanga title to all the foreshore and seabed and that the public also have interests in access and navigation over this area. Their model combines a number of components: a national settlement, allocation of rights and interests, local co-management, and an ability to gain more specific access and use rights.


When we spoke to the Panel we stated that our mana whenua in respect of our foreshores and seabed had to be recognized in accordance with our tikanga, and not through the onerous and inappropriate mechanism of the Maori Land Court which would probably end up tying us up for years.


The government is taking some time to consider the panel’s review and has said it will respond in August.


Māori Television asked me to appear on a discussion panel on their Native Affairs programme on 13 July to discuss the foreshore and seabed issue and asked me to talk about Ngāti Kahu’s approach to this, which I agreed to do. Some of you may have seen the programme. If you didn’t you can view it on the Native Affairs website at It is there as Native Affairs 03/16.


Professor Margaret Mutu

16 July 2009